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Image by David Gabric
The girl in class 2C
Today’s question on the board is clear –
write of beaches, cliffs and foaming spray
and yet young Tracey’s page is empty
and questioning makes her turn aside.
She says she has never seen the sea,
but heard it in a giant shell, that
her Granny keeps on the back-yard sill
and it hissed like wind in the dark
chimney. She knows each chipping on the road
around her streets, and where dandelions
spear between flagstones on Station
Avenue. Trains don’t travel here, not
now the coal is spent out. Buses are
infrequent and the library is shut.
But once the family opposite
took her in their hired car to
the fancy lido down the valley.
She had to change in the echoing
chamber, but while the others ran through
the foot bath to the pool, she lingered.
It seemed too bright, too blue. She did
not go again, preferring paddling
in the stream where once they found a sleek
dead rat and buried him with fullest
ceremony. No one knows her patch
as she does, and it is forest
at midnight, Apache burial
ground, planet Mars. Despite the wanton
boys around the sand sheds, it is her
ball park; it is her territory.
She writes down words like blue and cold, but
does not repeat – she has never seen
They say their former teacher
never showed them a poem,
as they look at ‘Daffodils’
with curious suspicion,
as if it were a creature
tossing its head to bite or
startle with a glancing
I ask them to think
about how they
would walk in a garden,
or wander in nature
beyond the vale and lake.
Adeel jokes that he would
run with his football
but is admonished by Shen
who makes paper
flowers and leaves them
as gifts. The boys are pensive
waiting for a guide to dance
them through the margins
of the poem to the bay
where the inward eye waits.
They understand solitude
and the mind lost in thought.
But still the poem is a wary friend.
They wait for the host to open
the door to the stars where each
word twinkles and floats to bliss.
Jude Brigley is Welsh. She taught for forty years. She has been an editor and a performance poet. She is now writing more for the page and has been published in a variety of magazines including Blue Nib, Otherwise Engaged, The Lake and Scissortail.